What you need to know...

APATS Newsletter

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Akemi Raish MS, LAT, ATC, CES
US Marine Corps (Okinawa Japan)

How long have you been an athletic trainer?

This is my 12th year as a full-time AT.

Where did you come from (work history)?

I started as a collegiate AT, then I tried a Sports Med doctor's office for a hot minute, then international school in Shanghai, then high school, and now US Military in Japan. I don't like to sit still. :)

What do you enjoy most about international athletic training?
Meeting new people. In the US it can be very hard to break into a friend group when so many people already have their "tribe." When I'm international, it feels like everyone is in the same boat and walls come down. You're more vulnerable and so are they. I make life-long friends in a short amount of time when I live internationally.

Tell us a little about your family?

My family are my dogs. Duke is a 90-lb American Bulldog and Duchess is a Black Lab/Jack Russel and they are bffs.

Where is the best place you've traveled to and why?

I climbed Mt Fuji in September 2021. I am not typically the person to set such a big physical goal for myself, however, within my first hour of hiking, I realized it was not a physically challenge nearly as much as a mental challenge. I never thought I could've completed something like it, especially on my own, but I did and I'm so proud of myself. It was something I'll never forget.

What is your fondest memory as an ATC in your current role?

0500 AM hikes with various units I'm responsible for and watching the sunrise as we walk. Not only does my hiking build rapport with the Marines, it also is a place of mental peace for me.

What is your proudest moment as an athletic trainer overseas?

I think gaining a Marine's trust is what has made me proud here. It's common for them to ignore their injuries because if they speak up, they may have to restart boot camp or restart the course they are taking which would set them back. They keep pushing until they physically can't continue. For a Marine to finally decide they're going to come to me and trust me with their treatment, recovery, and return to duty is huge and I don't take it lightly. I'm in a place where they can be themselves, be honest, and put their health first. And that always feels good.

How is your current role different than a traditional ATC job?

There are many similarities between my job and a physical therapy clinic, but my most enjoyable time is when I'm out of the office. I get to attend trainings, including hikes, performance fitness tests (PFT, CFT), and obstacle courses to provide acute injury care and first aid. I miss the acute interaction. I have had the opportunity to take courses that are taught to US Marines and to their medical providers (Navy Corpsmen) about how to treat life- threatening injuries and conditions in a training situation (when practicing with artillery, repelling from a helicopter, etc) and in a combat situation. This included some familiar tasks and some not-so-familiar: starting an IV, starting a cricotomy, inserting a needle for chest decompression, sealing a chest wound, inserting an NPA, placing a tourniquet, and more. This was all while in a simulated combat situation wearing flak and Kevlar, clearing a room, finding the patient, and working on a simulated patient with life threatening wounds. Next week, I'll have the opportunity to attend the Jungle Warfare Training Center. Each day they focus on different aspects of training for war in the jungle in Okinawa, Japan- from how to evacuate a casualty to a 3-hour endurance obstacle course.

What athletic training chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Cleaning the hydroc. I'd rather not even have one.

What is one thing you miss from your home country?

I miss the food. Mexican food is the first thing I'm getting when I arrive!

What is something you learned in the last week?

I haven't taped an ankle in over a year...and I still got the magic touch!

If you could work in any country as an athletic trainer, where would you work?

England is my next goal.

What is the most important trend you see today in the field of athletic training?

I work with a lot of chronic conditions that Marines have put off for several years, so the most important aspect of AT that I push in my setting is mobility and focusing on a proper warm-up and cool down.

 

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Nao Kozawa ATC 
MLB China

 

How long have you been an athletic trainer?

This is my 8th year as certified athletic trainer.

Where did you come from (work history)?

I grew up in Nagoya, Japan playing baseball throughout my schooling. My dream was to work as an athletic trainer in a baseball setting, so I decided to get an athletic training degree in the States. I graduated from University of Nebraska, Omaha with a BS in Athletic Training. I got my master’s at Missouri State University while I worked as a graduate assistant for MSU Swimming and Diving team. After graduation I went back to Japan and worked at a fitness gym. Since 2018, I am at my current position at MLB China.

What do you enjoy most about international athletic training?

Sharing what we do as an athletic trainer. I love to see people watching what I do with shining eyes.

Tell us a little about your family?

I have a very small family. My parents and 96-year-old grandma. They all live in Nagoya, Japan.

What is your proudest moment as an athletic trainer overseas?

When I travel for games, 99% of the time, we are the only team that has an athletic trainer on a team. Other teams ask me for advice regarding rehab or exercises for injury prevention. I am very appreciative that coaches and staff understand the importance of athletic trainers and I am proud to be a part of this family. I am also proud to spread the words of athletic training.

Where is the best place you've traveled to and why?

I love Hawaii, but if I have to pick one, I would choose Machu Picchu, Peru. Going there was one of the things on my bucket list and Machu Picchu is not the easy place to get to.

How is your current role different than a traditional ATC job?

I think my current role requires wide range of work. My main role is an athletic trainer, but sometimes I am a strength and conditioning coach, a nutritionist, a biomechanics scientist, a coordinator, a researcher, a playing catch partner, and a parent / babysitter. I truly enjoy most of the part other than being a babysitter.

What is one thing you miss from your home country?

Family

What is something you learned in the last week?

In Japan, there is a tradition to eat certain foods for the new year. Each food has a meaning to it and wish family health and better luck. I am not a good cook, but I learned how to make one of the things (Kuromame) this year! I learned it takes forever to make them, and it is better to just buy them.

If you could work in any country as an athletic trainer, where would you work?

Wherever there is a beautiful beach and baseball!!

What is the most important trend you see today in the field of athletic training?

Putting more weight on injury prevention than treating injured athletes. I see more and more research that relate to injury prevention nowadays. Understand the importance of pre-participation exam and physical assessment, and having athletes do supplemental exercises or corrective exercises based on assessment can make a huge impact on athletes, especially in youth setting. We, as athletic trainers, have enough things to do already, so I love to see the trend of working hard to make our job easier!!